Since the introduction of Apple Music, I’ve been trying to convince myself that I can finally have all my music in a single place. I want Siri integration and the ability to search my music collection and iTunes at the same time. Unfortunately, it just isn’t worth the horrible experience that comes with the privilege. My free trial of Apple Music just expired and I’m going back to Rdio for the foreseeable future.
Here are just a few of the issues I need to see Apple fix before I’d consider giving Apple Music another chance:
Constant playback issues
One of the largest complaints I have with Apple Music is the constant stuttering during playback. (No, it isn’t my data connection.) There are random times when I’m driving and listening to a song and it just stops. No reason. Playback just ceases immediately.
Looking at my iPhone’s Lock screen, I can tap the Play button and playback resumes. Sometimes, that’s all there is to it. Other times it’s a constant war that results in me wanting to light my iPhone on fire. (Okay, maybe not that severe, but I do end up relenting and turning to Spotify, Pandora, or Rdio instead.)
Offline music isn’t really “offline”
Many times I’ve saved songs for offline playback. Then when I actually need offline playback — like on a plane — I find half the songs I marked for offline playback won’t actually play.
Instead, I get a popup message informing me that I can’t play this track because I have no cellular or Wi-Fi connection.
Curated playlists are incredibly short
The For You section of Apple Music has done a pretty phenomenal job of filtering things that I’m interested in. However, the whole point of me using that section is it offers me the convenience of not having to manually create playlists.
A playlist that is only 5 songs long isn’t really a playlist at all. I’d rather take five minutes to put together my own. Some are over before I even drive from my house to the grocery store, let alone a long road trip.
I just end up turning to Pandora when I want continuous music I don’t have to work for.
Why can’t Music.app pick up where I last left off?
This is an issue with the Music app that has been getting under my skin long before Apple Music came along. For some reason, the Music app always plays the first song in my music library whenever I get into a car and Bluetooth connects. (I was so tired of hearing ABC by The Jackson 5 that I deleted it completely!)
If Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio can remember where I left off, why the hell can’t Apple Music?
On the off chance it does manage to remember where I left off, it doesn’t bother to pay attention to the actual track marker. When running a long list of errands, I get in the car and it starts the song over again. I get out, and it starts it over again when I get back in. I’ve now heard the first 3 minutes of the same song about 6 times.
I didn’t personally experience this issue, but I know many people have, including Jim Dalrymple of the Loop. The fact that Apple released a product that has the potential of screwing with people’s libraries the way Jim described is incredibly unnerving to me.
Beats 1 isn’t for me
I’ve tried to listen to Beats 1 numerous times over the past several weeks and it just isn’t for me. I never hear anything that remotely interests me.
I’ve tried tuning in at different times, listening to replays, etc. I just don’t have any interest or think it’s all that great.
Maybe my musical tastes dictate some of this, but for me personally, it’s not a service I see myself ever benefiting from.
No Sonos support
This is not the fault of Sonos, who have already said that whenever Apple is ready to give developers access, they’re ready to support it. The problem is that Apple has apparently put third-party support on the back burner to “other goals”.
I have connected accessories. I want to use them with whatever streaming service I choose, especially if I’m paying for it. Sonos is incredibly great at integrating with pretty much every streaming service you could imagine and Apple Music shouldn’t be the exception.
If Apple wants to push connected homes, they can’t make support for great products that strongly encourage that ecosystem low priority.
Going back to Rdio
Rdio has been my main streaming music service of choice for years. I know Spotify has more tracks, but that doesn’t bother me. Rdio has a beautiful iOS and Mac app and integrates with everything I need it to. I have Spotify installed but I only use it to play albums or playlists Rdio doesn’t have, since I can do that on shuffle for free.
For random music around the house, Pandora will always have a place in our home. It’s also how I find myself discovering new music.
I had high hopes for Apple Music, given how impressed I was with Beats Music when it debuted. Then, back in April of last year, I switched back to Rdio due to offline playback issues similar to the ones I’ve experienced with Apple Music.
I guess I was hoping Apple could take the greatest features of Beats Music and add the Apple polish they do so well to give me the most amazing music service we’ve ever seen.
That definitely isn’t what I got. Perhaps that wish was naive, I don’t know.
What I do know is that Apple Music doesn’t offer the Apple-like experience I’ve come to know and love, and that’s a shame.
Perhaps I’ll re-evaluate a year or so from now. Until then, I’d love to know what your thoughts and experiences have been with Apple Music. Feel free to drop them in the comments!